On pushing past embarrassment or discomfort when writing

Posted: June 6, 2015 in character, writing
Tags: , ,

This was one of the hardest lessons of all for me as an inexperienced writer. I believe honesty shines through in writing, and i don’t mean telling the whole truth but i mean looking for the truth in a situation and then putting that across. I think we have all had that moment when we cringe after reading something we have written, because its just too close to the truth, to your truth, to thoughts you think other people would judge you for.

I used to hold back, because i didn’t want to expose myself, i didn’t want people to think badly of me for having strange thoughts or observations on things. Then i realised i have a unique perspective (we all do) and so gradually I became more accustomed to finding out the truth of things and allowing myself to express that truth.

I realise at the moment i am kind of talking in riddles so let me explain.  I don’t think its right to touch on a scenario without then putting across the way you want that scenario to make your audience feel. For instance in my murders I push myself through all the feelings of embarrassment to write the most comprehensive view on that murder I can think of. There were a few moments in my novel where i wanted to stop because quite frankly it was grossing me out – but I went past that – feeiing embarrassed of being able to see a horrible murder through from beginning to end.

At the moment i am writing from the perspective of a character that takes me back to a person I used to be (because every character is a part of you in some way ) I’m searching for the moments in my life that could become part of his experience but in doing that – I am very uncomfortable. Its important to me that I realise that imparting the truth of my own experiences is what makes the book come alive – no matter how disturbing that truth my be. Its a difficult time for me at the moment, because I am touching on nerves I havent touched on in a long time. But its important not to shy away from that and to get it down. I like the grit of real life and coming from an unconventional upbringing gives me an alternate perspective.

Therefore I almost challenge myself to look for that place in myself where the secret thoughts and feelings fester, because thats where you find the truth. If you write a bad guy then make him bad, make his thoughts bad, think those thoughts and feel them, believe them to be yours and then operate using those thoughts as your own. Thats how you make rounded characters, thats how stories are driven by characters and not plots. I have tried plenty of times to make characters fit into my plot, but it doesn’t work if it doesn’t work, one of them has to give if thats the case, you either have to rethink your character or rethink the plot. how many times have you watched something and thought – “he wouldn’t do that” – thats the kind of thing I am talking about here. Don’t be embarrassed for yourself if your character is a massive shitbag – be embarrassed for your character, but make him real.

Until next time

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